Relentless wind, dropping temperatures and overheated indoor air all contribute to winter complexion woes. To combat cold weather skin care concerns, it’s time to tweak your skin care routine to factor in the deep freeze. Say sayonara to unsightly flakes and dehydrated faces. Dermatologist Dr. Betty Bellman shares her tips for protecting your skin against the elements this season.
Skin care tip: Moisturize top to toe
While it might be tempting to be more face-focused when it comes to your skin care routine, don’t forget about the rest of your body. “Winter weather can cause
dry chapped lips, dry skin especially on the legs, and dry, peeling cracked hands and elbows,” Bellman says. “Don’t ignore dry skin, especially on the legs which can lead to eczema.” Make moisturizing your entire body part of your cold weather routine to ensure dry skin doesn’t take over your body – and your winter. “It is important to apply moisturizer before bed or after your shower to keep skin soft. Use bath oil at least three times a week and to keep hands soft, apply hand cream at night and sleep with cotton gloves,” the dermatologist says. Put lip balm on before going to bed to keep lips moist and smooth, and if your skin is particularly dry, use products designed specifically for heels, hands and feet (she suggests Ahava Dermud Intensive Foot Cream for feet).
Check out some of our favourite winter skin products.
Skin care tip: Skip the harsh scrub
We often hear about the importance of exfoliation as a skin care must, and while it does help keep skin healthy and smooth, Bellman advises against this step in the winter. “Exfoliation is not a good idea during winter. Our skin can get very abraded, raw and irritated,” she explains. “Exfoliating abrades the skin little by little, disrupting its integrity and exfoliating can make already dry skin even dryer.” If you can’t go without (or your skin isn’t exceptionally dry) she suggests using papaya enzyme scrubs or sugar scrubs once every ten days. Otherwise you can keep skin smooth without scrubbing by using moisture masks.
More easy ways to update your skin care routine on the next page …
3. Switch to winter-friendly products
Lighter lotions and cleansers might have been adequate for the warmer months but during the winter your skin needs a heavier does of hydration. Switch to products that offer more protection and less irritation in order to ensure skin stays healthy. For instance, if your skin is dry, avoid using soap to lather up your face, Bellman advises. “It will strip the natural oils off of the skin.” Instead, use a creamy cleanser (she suggests Eminence Organic Coconut Milk Cleanser). Moisturize twice a day and look for a richer, creamier product rather than a lotion or gel. If you enjoy using a serum, wear it with a moisturizer instead of alone for extra hydration, the dermatologist advises. You can let it dry and then put your moisturizer on top.
4. Banish dehydration
Drinking your eight glasses of water a day is a must for overall good health and for your complexion, too. “Staying hydrated is very important for our bodies, our skin and our health,” Bellman says. “It definitely helps your skin hydration.” Aside from sipping whenever you can, install a humidifier into your bedroom or home office for even more of a hydrating boost. Humidifiers add much-needed moisture to dry winter air, soothe skin and can help skin stay soft and smooth despite the weather.
5. Avoid harsh ingredients
During the winter it is important to ensure what you put on your skin isn’t exacerbating dryness or causing redness and irritation. “Products containing retinoid, glycolic acid, alpha-hydroxy acid, lactic acid and salicylic acid tend to exfoliate and irritate some people’s skin, especially during the winter,” Bellman says. Use products containing these ingredients sparingly during the colder months, especially if you have sensitive skin. Ingredients to look for in winter skin care products include shea butter, caprylic acid (balances pH in the skin, highly moisturizing), glycerine and allantoin (helps bind moisture to the skin)
6. Say yes to sun protection
It may be dull and grey outside but that doesn’t mean you can do away with sun protection. In fact, keeping sunscreen in your arsenal of winter skin care products is important year round, Bellman says. She recommends the La Roche Posay Anthelios line, which makes sunscreen with both UVA and UVB broad spectrum sun protection. “It is important that the sunscreen have both types of coverage,” she explains. “One should also look for ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which deflect the rays of the sun and are physical blocks.” Be particularly cautious if you are hitting the slopes (the sun reflects off of the snow) or hitting the beach this winter.
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